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Networks New to Fibre - what modem/router?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by iknowgungfu, 6 Nov 2017.

  1. iknowgungfu

    iknowgungfu Minimodder

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    Hi all,

    I’ve had nothing but ADSL for many years but am now about to get Fibre (finally). However, I am very confused with what I need.

    The last few routers I’ve had included ADSL modems within. Am I correct in thinking most Fibre (VDSL?) routers require a separate modem?

    Basically, I am after advice and recommendations as what to buy.

    We have many WiFi devices in the home including Streaming devices such as Chrome cast and Firestick. Several consoles, PCs and laptops. I enjoy gaming whilst the rest of my family enjoy Netflix, Sky on demand and Prime etc.

    Not too worried about cost within reason but not shy of a bargain either! Would be after AC WiFi and preferable MU-MIMO unless the general consensus is that this is a gimmick. I am from the generation which needed to portforward every chuffing programme I had installed so am not a complete novice so a simple interface would not be a deal maker/ breaker.

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
     
  2. RedFlames

    RedFlames ...is not a Belgian football team

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    That was the case, and it may still be. Your ISP will probably provide one anyway. Some 'BT Line' ISPs make it hard [but not impossible] to use your own modem - Sky I'm looking at you.

    Virgin you're basically stuck using their Stupidhub be it as a router or in modem mode.

    Also if you ever have any connection problems CS will probably tell you to jog on if you're not using the modem they supplied.

    Basically you have your pick of the major names as they pretty much all make routers with VDSL modems in now.
    If your in a big gaf you may even want to look at mesh networking.
     
  3. iknowgungfu

    iknowgungfu Minimodder

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    I saw mesh offerings such as the ones from Google and Netgear and assumed they would be additional to the router.

    Or do they normally encompass both modem/router and WiFi mesh?
     
  4. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    No. If a router is sold as VDSL, it includes a VDSL (typically an ADSL/VDSL) modem as standard. A router which requires a separate modem will be sold as a cable router.

    Example: TP-Link Archer VR400, which has a built-in ADSL/VDSL modem and doesn't require a separate box. TP-Link Archer C59, which doesn't have a built-in modem and does require a separate box.

    I'm not recommending either of those, by the way; they're just examples.

    As to whether you'll need one, it depends what 'fibre' you're getting. FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) like BT Infinity is VDSL and will require a VDSL router or a cable router with separate VDSL modem; the 'fibre' offered by Virgin Media, by contrast, actually comes to your house on co-axial cable rather than POTS pairs and requires a DOCSIS modem or router.
    The mesh systems, like Google Wifi, act as a router as well as an access point but do not include a modem - so you would need a separate modem if you wanted to go that route.
     
  5. iknowgungfu

    iknowgungfu Minimodder

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    Thanks. It is definitely VDSL as it is FTTC. The mesh solutions are intriguing me as my house does have a lot of poor WiFi areas in it - but this may be more to do with the Sky Hub I have as my router (not the Sky Q one).

    In terms of different AC standards how much attention should I pay to proposed speeds vs actual possible speeds and realistic requirements.

    At the most I will eventually streaming 4K content via Amazon and Netflix. Or potentially my wife doing that and me gaming (which makes me think Inshould get something that allows me to set priority!)
     
  6. edzieba

    edzieba Virtual Realist

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    I'd recommend using the ISP-supplied unifiedhub/router/AP thing as just a big glorified MODEM, and supplying the rest yourself. My setup is an Edgerouter X as the router, a couple of Unifi APs for WiFi (upstairs and downstairs), and some cheap gigabit switches dotted around in rooms that need them. The Edgerouter X was a replacement for an old RT-N16 running DD-WRT, as it could not keep up with a 200Mbit link. You could probably replace it with a newer consumer router running DD-WRT (or Tomato or similar) but for the price the Edgerouter X is probably cheaper. Separating the router from the WiFi access point means you can tuck everything away in a cupboard while putting the WiFi in the most central location for good coverage.
    I would absolutely recommend 'prosumer' gear like the Unifi APs over an 'all in one' router/AP device. While raw throughput for a single user is probably the same (and maybe even a little higher on the all-in-one device), if you are throwing two or three devices on WiFi all wanting to use bandwidth the all-in-ones quickly start to get bogged down and you end up seeing overall bandwidth drop and latency start spiking.
     
  7. phuzz

    phuzz This is a title

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    We were* using an Asus RT-AC66U with custom firmware from Merlin (Asus release the source for their firmware so it's a modification of that with some extra features) and it worked great. There's a whole range of different routers so it's probably worth having a look to see if there's one that suits you. Most of their current ones seem to do MIMO and have multiple aerials, and our one was certainly better than our Virgin (not-so)Superhub.
    *(Then Virgin did something to the Superhub which stopped it working in modem mode and I've not got round to putting it back.)
     
  8. Anfield

    Anfield Multimodder

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    I have been using an ASUS DSL-AC68U for over a year now and it works perfectly fine as a single device solution to replace the crappy one that BT provided, I'd highly recommend it.

    Unfortunately when it comes to promised Wifi speeds the numbers that manufactures quote are about as reliable as the plans of the average movie villain, so make sure to check multiple reviews from trustworthy tech sites before buying any wireless device.
     
  9. CrapBag

    CrapBag Multimodder

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    My only complaint with my sky supplied router is the lack of Ethernet ports, other than that it seems fine.
     
  10. iknowgungfu

    iknowgungfu Minimodder

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    Thanks for the helpful responses and sorry for not getting back sooner (must have missed my email notification).

    I understand the variable speeds that WiFi has compared to theoretical speeds. My question was more about how important is it for someone to buy into a faster AC standard over AC1200 for example. From what I can see most AC standards offer theoretical speeds higher than the anticipated 60mbps from my imminent fibre connection.

    I was looking at Google’s WiFi Mesh solution and was quite tempted but unsure if only having AC1200 and no MU-MIMO.

    Netgears Mesh solution looks better but is costly and much bulkier product.

    Any opinions?
     
  11. Zak33

    Zak33 Staff Staff Administrator

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    possibly worth spending more time on location of router ....than type of wifi.

    I am, currently, doing exactly this - planning wiring to get my router into the middle of my house to ensure a better wifi signal all round.

    Wifi speeds vary so much according to position, that the wfi standard is important but not so much as you might hope.

    because.... each device connecting will have a diff ability/standard itself. In my house for example, with 4 mobile phones, 2 ipads, a laptop a tv, & set top box, less than half can connect on the faster networks, and the ones on the older "slower" networks are way more solid and in reality, speed test quicker most of the time when a distance from the router.
     
  12. Blogins

    Blogins Panda have Guns

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    Another vote for the ASUS RT-AC68U here! For my setup I used the router/modem supplied by Plusnet, unfortunately it's in the far corner of the house so Wi-Fi is very bad. Disabling the modems Wi-Fi and using a couple of TP LINK AV2000 HomePlugs the ethernet gets trunked through to a central location where the ASUS RT-AC68U feeds all our Wi-Fi needs!
     
  13. GMC

    GMC Minimodder

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    Another ASUS recommendation.

    I had an RT-N56U to replace the virgin superdud till I left London a few years back, it's still sitting in a box somewhere around here.

    Have had a DSL-N66U as main router with Talk talk FTTC here for about 2-3 years and use a separate EA-AC87 as a WiFi access point at the other end of the house - connected via gigabit Powerline. Recommend these highly as well if needed : Solwise PL-1200AV2-PIGGY


    Had problems with TP-Link, Edimax, and Linksys offers before I moved to ASUS and would swear by them happily.

    Only Asus networking product I ever had a problem with was a plug in WiFi repeater RP-N53U. Got really hot, never seemed to make a good enough 5G connection to main router, even when put in same room. Worked on 2.4 for about a year (in a well ventilated and cool location) and died from heat exhaustion. Learned to steer clear of plug in repeaters and just use a full blown access point.
     
  14. iknowgungfu

    iknowgungfu Minimodder

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    Thanks for all the suggestions on here. (My Wife)Decided to stick to an all one solution to begin with so have bought a TPLInk VR2800. Found some good reviews and feedback on a few other forums. Hopefully it checks out as I can see ASUS gets a massive thumbs up here.

    When did
    Routers get so damn ugly? Not everyone wants something that looks like a feature from the bat mobile.
     
  15. Broadwater06

    Broadwater06 Minimodder

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    I too have Asus RT-AC68U and I have an app on my phone 'ASUS router' where I can alter the settings and update firmware from my phone without having to go into. Yeah it's another recommendation.
     

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